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Outdoor recreation was 2.1% of nation’s gross domestic product in 2019


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross toured Maverick Boat Group’s manufacturing facility.

Treasure Coast Newspapers

Question: When is 2.1% a big number?

Answer: When it represents hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

A new report released Nov. 11 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates in 2019, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.1% of the nation’s gross domestic product, the measure of the market value for all goods and services produced in a specific time period.

Outdoor recreation contributed $459.8 billion to the nation’s overall economy from $788 billion of gross output. It accounts for 5.2 million U.S. jobs.

The statistics show the outdoor recreation sector grew by 1.3%, nearly keeping pace with the growth of the nation’s economy, which was 2.2% between 2018 and 2019.

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The 42-foot Pursuit 2021 S 428 Sport, built in Fort Pierce, is debuted in a sea trial Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, on the Indian River Lagoon. The boat boasts four Yamaha 425 hp outboards, offering a max horsepower of 1,700, with several other luxury features. The largest boat ever built by Pursuit took about 9 months to complete from the first research, to concept, to detail design and engineering. The coronavirus induced March 24 closure of the Pursuit manufacturing facility in Fort Pierce presented challenges to the build, but “we never stopped working,” said Pursuit Boats President Bruce Thompson. (Photo: LEAH VOSS/TCPALM)

A small part

Jayson Arman is a St. Lucie County-based fishing guide who is just one small part of a huge industry. He doesn’t own a boat, but when he is hired by customers who find him at Billy Bones Bait and Tackle in Port St. Lucie, he will take them on fishing adventures in places along the Indian River Lagoon or Treasure Coast beaches that can be reached on foot.

Arman loves what he does.

“Every day is a new day, every person is a new person. The unpredictability of fishing is what makes it addicting,” said Arman, whose business is That’s R Man Land-based Fishing Charters.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Jayson Arman, of That’s R Man land-based fishing charters, guides on-foot fishing charters out of Billy Bones Bait and Tackle in Port St. Lucie.

“I just gone done getting out of the water trying to fish for trout and had 6-foot-long tarpon blowing up mullet right in front of us,” Arman said before 8 a.m. Thursday. “That’s why I love being a fishing guide.”

More: TCPalm fishing report: Trout and hogfish harvest seasons to close Nov. 1

Each year, Arman runs a holiday special up until Christmas Eve, charging $100 for two people to fish. Anglers have one year to use the gift certificate, can choose any of four locations to fish and Arman supplies all the tackle.

The outdoor recreation economy is made up largely of small business owners eking out a living.

Boating and fishing

The five largest segments of the outdoor recreation economy in 2019 were:

  • Boating and fishing — $23.6 billion
  • RV’ing —
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